Chicago White Sox manager Robin Ventura is not on the proverbial “hot seat.” That does not mean, however, that Ventura is the long-term solution for the Sox, and that they shouldn’t consider moving on from him.
See, Ventura is not necessarily a teacher, and if the White Sox (28-38) are going to hire a new manager after next season, it is because that is exactly what the team will need from its skipper.
It will be a matter of necessity.
Make no mistake about it; the impending fire sale on the South Side is going to alter the direction of the franchise. Not just for this season, mind you, but for many years to come.
The White Sox need to get younger and more talented at the same time. That means trading away veteran players in exchange for prospects who may not have any major league experience.
With a depleted roster and a relatively barren farm system, the new arrivals may be pressed into service relatively quickly, and that demands the talents of a manager who is a teacher.
This is not an indictment of his process, and I want to be clear…Robin Ventura should not be fired.
This disaster of a season is not his fault. Frankly, the White Sox are not a good team. Their offense is woeful, they possess almost no team speed and the defense has given away more games than they have won.
That is not to say Ventura has done a top-flight job this year.
He lets Tyler Flowers bat too often in the ninth inning, and he has been stubborn to a fault in giving his players the opportunity to battle their way out of a slump.
There are also times when some fans may want to see a bit more fire from their manager.
Why, for instance, was Jordan Danks the one arguing with the second-base umpire after he was picked off second base to end Saturday night’s game? Sure, Danks was out, but where was Ventura?
There have been other moments this season that left many of us scratching our heads, but those are not reasons for him to lose his job.
Overall, Ventura has been an asset. As I noted earlier this year, he is a steward of the game and the White Sox are lucky to have him. Those sentiments remain true.
And if the White Sox were in contention this season, his stewardship would be one of their greatest strengths. Unfortunately, they are not going to be buyers at the non-waiver trade deadline this season, and that instantly changes the qualifications for their manager.
Now, it goes without saying that a major league manager does not have a whole lot of influence on the outcome of a game. The number of times a team wins is largely dependent on the kind of talent that takes the field.
Is Ventura the right guy to manage the White Sox during the rebuilding process?
There are managers, however, that are known for preaching the x’s and o’s and creating a culture of growth.
Buck Showalter comes to mind. As do Bruce Bochy, Joe Maddon and Ron Gardenhire.
They have their share of down seasons—and are at their best when they have a talented 25-man roster—but are well known for being teachers.
Again, Ventura is not that type of manager.
In all fairness, the entire premise here could be wrong. He could be the perfect guy for the job. Perhaps his patience will prove to be the difference between a prospect suffocating under the pressure and rising above it.
In 2012, Ventura did an amazing job with a roster that had multiple rookies. He also had the veteran leadership of Jake Peavy, Paul Konerko and A.J. Pierzynski to help guide them. That will not be the case this time.
After the Sox lost three in a row to the Houston Astros over the weekend and four straight overall, it is safe to say that the 2013 season is quickly reaching its nadir.
The roster is going to undergo significant turnover with just a few more weeks of bad baseball.
Whether or not he can effectively manage the next roster incarnation is entirely unknown. It is also a question general manager Rick Hahn must answer.
If the White Sox feel Ventura is not the right man for the job, they could move on and replace the second-year manager with a teacher of the game.